By Amaka Watson,
Defender Network

Hurricane season is here, meaning the time has come to prepare for  natural disasters that traditionally impact America’s southern states. Preparation is key when it comes to catastrophic events. Individuals and families must take proactive steps to safeguard themselves against potential storms.

Here are the top five steps you can do now to protect your home and loved ones during hurricane season.

Build an emergency kit

Prepare a well-stocked emergency kit that can sustain you and your family for at least three days, including essentials like drinking water, non-perishable food, flashlights, batteries, first aid kit, medications, personal hygiene products, documents and cash. Replenish the kit when needed.

Create an emergency plan

Develop a strategic emergency plan. Discuss evacuation routes, designated meeting points and communication strategies with your family members. Divide responsibilities and make sure everyone understands the plan. Keep all important contacts, documents and emergency supplies in a secure and easily accessible location.

Safeguard your home

Mitigating potential damage to your home is crucial. Trim trees, clear gutters and remove loose objects that could become problems in high wind situations. Reinforce doors and windows and install storm shutters or impact resistant glass. Find the locations of shut-off valves for gas, electricity and water.

Review insurance coverage

Ensure you have adequate insurance coverage for your property and belongings. Review your homeownership insurance policy to understand what’s covered and consider purchasing flood insurance because standard policies don’t typically cover flood-related damages. Take inventory of your valuable properties through photos and videos and keep them in a secure place.

Stay informed

Keep up to date on the weather, emergency evacuation orders and alerts. Register for the local emergency notification systems and monitor the national Weather Service for updates.

Have a battery-powered weather radio to receive critical information even during power outages. Follow credible and reliable sources and official social media accounts.

Let’s learn from the past and prioritize the safety and well-being of your families and communities this season.

This post was originally published on Defender Network.